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The Sajin Newsletter

Naver Comments related to CNN's The Problem with Being Gay in South Korea

CNN just released an article on being gay in South Korea, which has also been posted on Naver news in Korean.

The story focuses on Micky Kim, a gay Korean who has hidden his identity for years in South Korea, who says that attitudes in SK cause homosexuality to be treated like a foreign issue. The article then looks at a Pew Research study, that shows an increase in acceptance of being gay, but still relatively low levels compared to other developed countries. The article finishes with mentioning the fierce opposition to the pride parade in June.

2015 October Makgeolli Festival!


New human rights commissioner has history of homophobia

South Korea has appointed another chairman with decidedly anti-LGBT beliefs to the National Human Rights Commission of Korea.

I reported last year on the appointment of Pastor Choi E-woo, who faced calls of resignation due to his past inflammatory remarks in relation to LGBT individuals. Unfortunately, Pastor Choi, who continues in his role as a non-permanent executive board member, is now joined by the equally misinformed Lee Sung-ho. 

Chu Seong-hoon thought Hwang Kwanghee was gay because he used banmal

Idol news for today. In all honesty, I am sick of all of the number of articles that talk about how so-and-so was mistaken in thinking so-and-so was gay. The quality of these K-pop articles rivals TMZ in their idiocy. I'm not sure why this news story re-surfaced, but it was originally minor news back in 2012. 

Chu Seong-hoon's logic was a bit interesting here: how speaking to someone in banmal, a lower speech form in Korean, can make others infer that you are gay. It is the first I heard this, but maybe it can come off as flirtatious. Then again, everything Hwang Kwanghee does comes off as a bit, well gay.

I also think Kwanghee sounds like an idiot by deciding not to use banmal because he worried that it would make it to difficult for someone speaking a foreign language to understand. 

Cooking Demo @ KCON New York, 11 A.M. August 8, 2015

We are doing a cooking demo "Crazy Korean Cooking Workshop" at KCON New York at Prudential Center at 11 A.M. on August 8, 2015. We're really excited to see you all! Join us!

You can also meet us at our fan booth and receive free Seriously Korean Bibim Gochujang!

Find out more about KCON here.

Translation: A domino effect leading to the legalization of bigamy and incest?

Another slow week in gay news in Korea. Unfortunately, the most interesting article that seemed worthy of translation was another Kukmin Ilbo piece full of faulty logic and false truths. I guess it is important to know the position of the bigots? Sorry loyal readers, but imagine how much more painful it was for me as the translator.

If same-sex marriage is legalized, it does not simply end at legal recognition of same sex couples. Not only will familial relations be thrown into chaos, but it will also usher in the collapse of the last barrier protecting the family by allowing bigamy and incest. There is also the problem of public health with the spread of AIDS. 

Translation: Kang Yong-suk is Against Marriage as Gay Couples Cannot Procreate

Kang Yong-suk, a controversial politician/lawyer on the conservative political spectrum, has expressed his views on gay marriage. The following translation of a Fact News article is not the most exciting news, but I think it is worth translating as gay marriage is increasingly being discussed in Korean media and it points out the hypocrisy of many opponents to same-sex marriage.

Korean Media on US Same-sex Marriage Ruling

Right before heading to sleep last night, my boyfriend and I heard the great news. Same-sex marriage is now legal in the entire USA! We woke up to a number of fantastic memes and posts from friends celebrating this landmark decision. Huffington Post Korea, my go-to news source (yes, I know it is biased) had a very affirmative headline with a "YES" in big bold letters. 

Seoul Admin Court rules that KQCF will have its parade!

The Korea Queer Culture Festival's parade will open according to plans on Sunday, June 28th.  

The Christian Right Rains on Korea's LGBT Parade

On Sunday, the Christian right successfully blocked the Queer Culture Festival parade's notice of assembly, which needed to be approved by the Namdaemun Police Department. This marks the second time this year that conservative protestants have disrupted the location of the event.

This Week Out There – May 11th – 17th

A selection of this week’s expat-related stories



This Week Out There – May 4th – 10th

A selection of this week’s expat-related stories



This Week Out There – Expat Spared, Taste of Home, & Repatriating

A selection of this week’s expat-related stories

Whatever gets you through the night…

This Week Out There – April 19th-25th

Ah! The Luxury of Moving House

Moving house is never fun, and moving as an expat can carry added difficulties. Being mobile requires one to frequently let go of many things, so the process of deciding what to leave behind can be especially fraught.

Reading List: Homosexuality in the News in 50s and 60s Korea

Chingusai has posted a great newsletter on homosexuality in Korea in the 1950s and 1960s, a period where little has been written in English on same-sex attraction in Korea. The article is divided into five sections, which explore the ways homosexuality was portrayed the news. The titles of each section give a taste of the article, but unfortunately, an article of this length will take me an ungodly amount of time to translate. I will aim to translate it section by section, post the translations and add hyperlinks below.

Sex-ed Guidlines Say No to Homosexuality, IGLHRC Condemns State's Endorsement of Conversion Therapy and More

LOTS of news this week, with both articles in English and Korean.


Charging Mayor Park with violating the constitution, gay pride will start in Seoul plaza, and 64.8% of Korean queers have thought about committing suicide

Constitutional Complaint News Conference (Source)
An LGBT organization is filling a constitutional appeal against Seoul city, arguing that dismissing the human rights charter and not using part of Seoul's budget in support of the Rainbow Youth Support Center in Seongbuk are

Links from the Week: No Queer Parade in Seoul Plaza, Human Rights Commission sponsors Jesus healing homosexuals, and more

2014 Wrap-up – WE’RE ALIVE!

Wow, it has been a really long time since we’ve updated the blog. Sorry about that!! With our SURPRISE trip home, English camps, producing a play in Busan, and adjusting to a new school year with a new coteacher, my plate has been more than full. With the new school year officially in swing this week, I’m ready to get back on a more regular schedule! Evan and I have a lot of exciting things planned this year, but first I want to update you all on what we’ve been up to since we last posted!

Queer Links from the Week: couple pushes Park on his stance on gay relationships, Hong Seok-cheon for Yongsan mayor, and a lesbian kiss on JTBC

A gay couple at a town hall meeting with Seoul Mayor Park Won Soon asked about gay rights, with a British expat asking 'How can I stay in Korea with the man I love? Where are my rights?' The expat, Simon HW, directly asked the mayor after having called the immigration office about applying for a partner visa several times. I applaud Simon (who actually used to work across the street from me), and hope more brave couples apply for marriage licenses. You can see the video over at youtube. 

Queer Links from the Week: Seoul District court ruled cancelling of military exemption illegal, homosexuals destroying the constitution?

In regards to a transsexual who had not undergone surgery but was given exemption from military service, the Seoul District court ruled that cancellation of military exemption is illegal. However, this also falls under the jurisprudence of the military law, so way beyond my Korean language/law abilities.

There is a great article on being queer in North Korea over NK News. Something we don't get to hear about much.

Queer Links from the Week: Legality of Gay Sleeping Rooms, The Good Young Man, and Gays in the Fashion Industry

Once again all the news from this week is in Korean... I hope my tiny summaries give you a taste of what is going on.

A long piece in the Hankyoreh looks at an ongoing court case concerning gay sleeping rooms. Mr. K was sued for providing illegal sexual services through his business, but K and his lawyer argue that operating a sleeping room does not qualify as sex trafficking. Mr. K won in the lower courts, but the case is being appealed. If I find the time, I'll try to translate this article, but it is quite long.

Queer Links from the Week: Human rights, Korea, and mistreating AIDS patients

Not much in terms of news in English other than a Youtube video titled Because I'm Gay. However, I'll try to do a quick summary of the news stories I saw this week.

On January 6th, human rights expert Vitit Muntarbhorn visited Korea and held a forum on the Yogyakarta Principles, which stipulate the application of human rights law as it concerns sexual orientation and gender identity. He specifically brought up issues concerning the military and anti-discrimination laws.

Queer Links from the Week: Tudor's op-ed, part-time sex work, and lesbian roles for Korean actresses

Uhm Jung-hwa and Kim Hyo-jin

Queer Links from the Week: Korea struggles to enact hate speech laws, still hard for college students, and queer Korean court ladies

Se-woong Koo at Korea Expose writes how LGBT rights are under Protestant siege in South Korea, and the Korea Herald published a piece on how Korea struggles to enact hate speech laws including, of course, those that would protect sexual minorities. Although things are getting better for younger Koreans, Oh My News writes about the difficulties still facing queer college students. (Korean)

Queer Links from the Week: Thinking Society, Being Gay in South Korea, and Reconciling Identities

Not much going on in the Korean news this week other than some articles from the religious right. The Kookmin Ilbo writes about the Christian world's success in Blocking the Legalization of Homosexuality (TKQ: same-sex activity is legal in Korea...) while Christian Today includes The Threat of Homosexuality to Korean Churches as one of the top issues of 2014.

Queer Links from the Week: More News on the Human Rights Charter, the Coalition for Sexual Morality, Kim Seong-o thought Won Bin was gay, and more

While Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon has apologized for the interfering with the human rights charter, the media is of course pounding on this issue.  Lawyer Jeong Jeong-hun writes in the Hankyoreh that Park Won-soon's non-answer to the demands of gay rights and the religious right has encouraged conflict rather than working as a mediator (Korean). Others write about how the citizen process of determining the contents of the human rights charter were discarded, and how LGBT citizens still must continue to fight for their dignity.

Queer Links from the Week: Anti-gay protesters halt human rights charter, human rights activists and Jason Mraz speak up

Unfortunately, anti-gay protesters have halted the passage of a human rights charter in Seoul. Many Christian groups had opposed a clause that banned LGBTQ discrimination. To get a sense of the level of hate toward this law, check out Media Today's article where an anti-gay pastor says that homosexual sex is something not even a pig would do (Korean).

Queer Links from the Week: Gay rights opponents store City Hall, Ex-gays in Korea, and Sergeant Arrested for Homosexual Rape

On Thursday, a hearing on whether to include sexual minorities in the Seoul non-discrimination charter was cancelled when 200 gay rights opponents stormed City Hall with many of the opponents part of the Christian Council of Korea. The English article doesn't go into much detail, but Oh My News describes the scene as chaos. In other crazy things that Christians do, on the 18th there was a forum held at the National Assembly Member's Office Building to discuss repentance and confession of an ex-gay's past: "If you accept the gospel, healing is possible". Right.

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